Action was taken on several items at Orange County Commissioners Court in a special session Tuesday.

The burn ban will stay in effect for three more weeks. “The only thing that has changed from last week is it’s gone from bad to worse,” said Jeff Kelley, director of emergency management. “We are in the high fire range right now as we speak.” Kelley said in the next seven to 14 days the county will be in the 700-800 range, which is the worst possible conditions.

“The fire up in Evadale, just outside the county line over the weekend was started by a wayward ember from a barbecue pit. They had to evacuate 14 homes. It got very close. It’s that drastic out there, it takes something very little to get it started.”

Commissioners also awarded the contract for the Orange County Sewer System Upgrade Project to Lester Saucier. Saucier was recommended by a committee of three: John Dubose, commission precinct 3, Jody Crump, commissioner precinct 4 and Joel Ardoin, Orange County director of health and code compliance. The project is funded by the Costal Impact Assistance Program grant.

It was voted to approve a three year contract with Lexis/Nexis for an inmate kiosk. The kiosk would replace a law library required by law to be available to inmates. To keep the law books updated as required costs the county $25,000 – 30,000 a year. It also requires a large room to store the books. A jailer is required to transport and supervise the inmate while at the library.

For $7,000 a year, the kiosk provides more information for the inmates and easier access. About the size of an ATM machine, the kiosk is portable. It can be brought to the inmate in his cell, which will improve security. It will also release the library room for other uses.

Karen Jo Vance, county clerk asked the court’s permission to designate Michael Mayer, Real Vision Software as a sole source to image, index and import 60 Commissioner’ Court minutes and index books. “These are huge books, we don’t have a flatbed scanner big enough to scan them.” Vance said she has used two other sources besides Mayer in the past and had to send their work to Mayer. “He’s still working on things I had imaged in 2005 and 2007.” Dedicated funds for archival purposes would be used.

Vance said she is 80 percent through with archiving all the county files.

“If we never have another hurricane, someone after us will and they’ll be prepared to deal with it a lot easier than what we had in the past, so that’s the important thing,” said Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux.

The 2010 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) award was accepted in the amount of $13,048.00. The funds pay for overtime to officers doing compliance monitoring on registered sex offenders in Orange County.

Commissioners voted to change next year’s county holiday for Texas Independence Day on March 2 to Presidents Day on Feb. 20.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.